March 29, 2020
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Cultures event today at UMPI

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — More than 100 high school students from around Aroostook County will gain insights into different languages and cultures today as part of World Language Day, a unique program offered by the University of Maine at Presque Isle.

Claire Davidshofer, a French instructor at the college and the organizer of this year’s event, said Wednesday afternoon that she was looking forward to it.

“We have been doing this on and off since the year 2000,” she said. “We have many sessions at the event that give students a chance to see people from different cultures and hear how they speak and see how they live.”

Students from Ashland, Mars Hill and Presque Isle will spend the day on campus taking part in miniclasses on language, culture, Spanish dancing and international games.

UMPI faculty members, staff, students and community members will present workshops on their countries of origin or countries where they have lived and worked. Countries and cultures represented include Poland, Italy, Russia, China, Niger, Puerto Rico, Sweden and Nepal.

“The students who participate will get a chance to take part in a number of activities,” Davidshofer said. “We have a Puerto Rican student who will be teaching steps from dances done in that country, and other students will be engaging the high school students in international games.”

This year’s event is being supported by a $500 grant from the Maine Humanities Council.

“One of my major goals is to promote language with this event,” Davidshofer said Wednesday. “You really need them to be part of the global economy.”

“The students will get a chance to hear and practice common phrases from a number of different countries,” she said. “They also will learn what behavior is appropriate in certain countries and what is not. There really are interesting activities there for everyone.”

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